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Research Article

Successful treatment of experimental B virus (Herpesvirus simiae) infection with acyclovir.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 08 March 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:681
  1. E A Boulter,
  2. B Thornton,
  3. D J Bauer,
  4. A Bye


    The efficacy of the new nucleoside analogue acyclovir against B virus (Herpesvirus simiae) was investigated in rabbits and Vero cells infected with 2-136 and 0.3-1.0 TCD50 of the virus respectively. In the Vero cells 1 mg of acyclovir/1 reduced the yield of virus by 90%, which was slightly less than the effect on herpes simplex virus. Results in the rabbits varied with the interval between doses, duration of treatment, and delay before starting treatment. Acyclovir controlled an otherwise lethal infection when given not less than eight-hourly for 14 days. Withdrawing treatment after 9-10 days resulted in late-onset fatal disease in some rabbits. Treatment begun within 24 hours after infection gave complete protection, and rabbits first treated up to five days after infection showed a significant reduction in mortality (p less than 0.001). The plasma half life of acyclovir is twice as long in man as in rabbits and progression of the disease is much slower. Hence acyclovir may be useful for post-exposure prophylaxis against B virus infection in man and possibly also for treatment of the disease.